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Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT Review

Most people on a budget look for excellent value for money. We can’t always afford to buy the super-duper, high-end spec product we want. So, we look for something that perfectly balances features, performance, and price. It’s not always easy to find such a product, especially where headphones are concerned.

So, I decided to find out if these headphones lived up to their value-for-money reputation. This model is known to offer wired and wireless connection options, which is great for those who need both. They seem to have many upsides. So, let’s put these headphones to the test to see if they live up to the hype in my in-depth Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT review.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT – The Basics

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Headphones that offer both wireless Bluetooth and cable connections are very popular, especially with standard consumers or musicians on a budget. And this type of affordability is a plus factor during times of economic uncertainty like we are currently seeing. 

But, even when looking for quality budget headphones, we need something that works well. Fortunately, this entry-level headphone set does what it says on the box.

My first impression…

They look great and sound great for something under $70. Audio-Technica is a Japanese electronics manufacturer that has been making great value-for-money products since they were founded on 18 April 1962 by Hideo Matsushita. Over the past two decades, they’ve become known for making affordable professional grade headphones with above-average audio and sound quality.

The Features

I want to be honest right off the bat. These headphones are not feature-rich or complicated. But, they are more than adequate for student musicians or normal music listeners. They have a comfortable over-ear design that makes them easy to wear for hours at a time. 

You don’t get many extras with these beauties, but that’s not such a bad thing. Less is more, and fewer fiddly features usually result in a reliable experience. Let’s take a look at some of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT top features to see what you get for your cash. 

Broad Frequency Response

The worry I usually have with affordable headphones is that the frequency range and response can sometimes be very limited. The frequency response rate for these headphones is in the 5Hz to 32kHz range, which is a very broad range. That surprised me. 

The high-end was very clear and bright, almost to the point of being a bit too bright. But it didn’t overstep the mark. I found the mid-range is where these headphones excelled the most. It had a real warmth and lusciousness that made it fun to listen to music.

The only minor issue for frequency response is the lack of bass tonality. It was still decent and had a punchy bass about it, so maybe I am being a bit hyper-critical here, especially when considering the price range. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for me; it’s just that the low-end didn’t blow me away.

Wired and Bluetooth Wireless

As I have mentioned, you get both wired and wireless options with these Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT headphones. They support a decent amount of Bluetooth codecs, especially if you are using Apple devices like an iPhone or iPad. They support SBC and AAC codecs, and although the SBC can be a bit sketchy, the AAC works fantastically well. 

It’s worth mentioning that the AAC doesn’t work so well on Android devices. The only way around this would be to offer LDAC or AptX, but it doesn’t offer either. So, you might get a sketchy experience when streaming on Android. 

You can also take advantage of the low-latency mode. This lets you synchronize between video and audio if you are a gamer or are looking for super smooth streaming. 

Long-Lasting Battery

When you buy wireless Bluetooth headphones, the battery must be reliable and durable. The battery life on this model is excellent and can give you up to 60 hours of play from just a single charge. Try beating that with other models in this price range! 

Furthermore, because the battery lasts so long, you won’t have to keep continuously charging them. That saves the battery’s longevity even more. You can even get three hours of battery life from just a 10-minute charge with a USB-C connection.

Simple Built-in Control Buttons

Nearly every function can be controlled via the built-in control buttons on the left ear cup. There are buttons to turn the volume up and down and to initiate playback or pause a track. You can also control any voice calls you might have and even the microphone. Talking about the mic, it’s decent quality. It won’t blow your socks off, but it works just fine for telephone calls.

Specs, Design, and Build

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Appearance is a very subjective thing, but design values are a bit more objective. And these look like a stylish set of refined headphones. At first glance, they look fantastic, especially for a budget set. 

They can be a bit cumbersome and do not have a foldable design. In my opinion, that’s a slight disadvantage, especially if you want to carry them around. But, once again, it’s not a deal-breaker. Here are some of the things I found out about the design and the overall specs. 

Comfortable Designs

The over-ear design with foam-filled cups ensures they are very comfortable for wearing over long periods. Sure, the vast majority of the headphones and frame are made from plastic, and that does affect flexibility. But the pads are comfy, so it could be worse. The tight fit of the pads does help with sound isolation while never being too tight. There is an adjustable headband, so it does fit heads of all sizes.

They weigh around 213 grams, which is nearly half a pound. While they might not have a lightweight design, they are not heavy. I would say they have a mid-range weight. The breathability factors are also very forgiving. All in all, they are designed for comfort but not flexibility.

Decent Durability

Although sound quality is important to me, I also like headphones that can take some knocks and don’t break easily. As mentioned above, these headphones are made of plastic with mid-range quality. 

They are not the best quality plastic, but also not the worse. Sometimes, you have to take the rough with the smooth. But, because they are quite rigid and inflexible, it does make them quite solid, durable, and dependable unless you try and bend them too much. 

There are not the worse budget headphones I have seen in terms of durability. However, they don’t live up to the durability of some high-end models, but I suppose that is to be expected.

Excellent Value For Money

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These are some of the best value-for-money headphones. There is a load of budget electronics companies out there offering affordable headphones, but Audio-Technica is a notch above those brands. 

The sound quality is crystal clear, and they work and feel great for a budget model. There is a general lack of features and accessories, but I supposed these were designed for those who can’t afford the expensive models but still need something decent.

You don’t get any carrying pouches or a bunch of connectors and adapters. So, I suppose this is a simple yet effective model. These are one of the most affordable Bluetooth headphones out there, so you can’t really complain.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT Review – Pros and Cons

  • Excellent value-for-money headphones.
  • Crystal clear sound quality.
  • Fantastic mid-range frequency response.
  • Comfortable over-ear design.
  • Wired and wireless options.
  • Supports several Bluetooth codecs.
  • Very long battery life.
  • Excellent low latency. 
[/pros] [cons]
  • Does not fold.
  • Quite cumbersome.
  • Budget headphones.

Need a Great Pair of Headphones?

We can help, so check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop, the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.

Also, have a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Wireless Headphones for TV, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Bluetooth Headphones for Commuting, a well as the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200 currently on the market.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20XBT Review – Final Thoughts

If you are looking to buy affordable headphones that have wired and wireless Bluetooth connectivity options for around $70, you won’t find many better deals. y aim was to find out if these headphones were a viable option for someone on a budget who still needs good sound and audio.

And to be fair, this model ticked all those boxes…

But they are on the cheaper end of the scale in terms of build quality. They have minimal features or extras, but you can only expect so much from headphones in this price range. The sound quality was surprisingly good across a broad range of frequencies, with the mid-range being excellent. The low end does suffer a little bit, and the bass can appear a bit weak, but it’s not so bad.

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If you are a student or just a casual music listener, this set of headphones should be right up your proverbial alleyway. This is what I would buy if looking for excellent value for money without sacrificing sound quality. However, audiophiles and sound engineers should stay well away because it’s all about levels. But, for those on a budget, these represent a great choice.

Until next time, happy listening.

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